Kelowna and area swimmers team up to swim English Channel

OMSC Lake Monsters (let to right)  Phred Martin, Denise Cesselli, Tracey Sutton, Leora Dahl and Mike Stamhuis will swim the English Channel as a relay team next week. - Contributed
OMSC Lake Monsters (let to right) Phred Martin, Denise Cesselli, Tracey Sutton, Leora Dahl and Mike Stamhuis will swim the English Channel as a relay team next week.
— image credit: Contributed

Five swimmers from the Okanagan Masters Swim Club (OMSC) will be jetting off to England at the end of this month to swim across the English Channel as a relay team.

The team dubbed the 'OMSC Lake Monsters' will be swimming across the English Channel as conditions permit the week of July 29. The swim starts in Dover, England and finishes near Calais, France. The span of the Channel at this point is 35 kilometres as the crow flies but strong ocean currents and tides could push the distance to over 45 kilometres.

The OMSC Lake Monsters consists of Canadian Masters record holder Mike Stamhuis, Phred Martin, Denise Cesselli, Tracey Sutton and Leora Dahl. They have been working on an extensive training regime preparing themselves for what could be a very cold swim. No wet suits are allowed.

When asked about his training schedule Martin said: “I am currently swimming 12 times a week-about 30 km in total--between the pool, Okanagan Lake and the Kettle River. At this point, our training is about endurance and getting mentally fit for the Channel.”

Their coach, Brent Hobbs, swam across the English Channel solo in 2008, and to this day, is one of only three British Columbians to successfully complete the race. “Having swum the Channel, I know how important it is to prepare physically and mentally for the challenge.  I was able to draw on this experience to help the OMSC Lake Monsters prepare for the rigors of swimming long distances in really cold water, and to do so in rough ocean conditions.  However, what I am most impressed with is how the OMSC Lake Monsters have come together as a team.  Each of them has experienced some adversity on their journey, such as succumbing to hypothermia, exhaustion and injuries. They have really supported each other, and I believe that this, above all else, will get them through to France,” said Hobbs.

To give back to the community, the team is raising funds for the YMCA’s Y Strong Kids Campaign which enables children and families to participate in sports.

Donations can be made in the Lake Monster’s name at


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